Red Sox close on Joel Hanrahan

BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox are moving toward acquiring closer Joel Hanrahan from the Pittsburgh Pirates, according to multiple sources.

However the Red Sox do not anticipate completing a trade before Christmas, according to a team source.

ESPN's Jim Bowden tweeted that the Sox would send minor league pitcher Stolmy Pimentel and first baseman/outfielder Jerry Sands to Pittsburgh. Multiple industry sources indicated to ESPNBoston.com that the Sox could include pitcher Mark Melancon, in addition to Pimentel and Sands, in return for Hanrahan.

Hanrahan saved a total of 76 games over the last two seasons for the Pirates and is a year away from free agency. With incumbent closer Andrew Bailey still a question mark after a season in which he was injured for most of the year, then pitched ineffectively, it makes sense that the Sox would explore bullpen upgrades.

Hanrahan, an All-Star in each of the last two seasons, earned $4.1 million in 2012 and can expect a significant bump in salary arbitration, to close to $7 million.

Pittsburgh has been looking for pitching, primarily starters, but just came to terms with Francisco Liriano.

The Dodgers also had interest in Hanrahan, but it appears their focus has shifted elsewhere, increasing Boston's chances of getting a deal done.